Senegalese village of Kujubeh in the Southern region of Casamance along the border has hosted a two-day sensitization meeting on peace, afforestation and the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of people within member states, last week.
With funding from the American Jewish World Service, the meeting was organised by Young People Without Borders, a youth-led community-based organisation in Siffoe in The Gambia and Ziguinchor-based civil society organisation on peace building in the Senegambia region, COSPAC.
The meeting emphasized the importance of protecting the forest cover and the advocacy for the maintenance of peace in Casamance and the Senegambia region. It also sensitized communities on the West Africa regional bloc, Ecowas protocol on free movement of people within member states for increased understanding and integration for peace and development.
“Together with our Gambian counterpart, we are working to ensure that the forest is protected and peace is maintained throughout the Senegambia region and beyond,” coordinator of the Agency for Industrial Property and Technological Innovation (ASAPID), Paul Abib Sanyang said at the opening of the meeting on Friday.
Mr Sanyang said human beings rely heavily on forest products for food and shelter and accessing these products is possible when there is stability.
Chairperson of Young People without Borders, Kalifa Kanteh said the peace and afforestation meeting is a follow-up to a peace dialogue that was held in Siffoe earlier this year, where participants recommended for the continuation of the engagement.
Mr Kanteh said it is important for citizens of the Senegambia region to integrate and advocate for peace and the protection of the forest cover for sustainable life and appealed for people to be active players in tree planting, considering the increased engagement of people in the cutting down of trees which can lead to desertification and low rainfall if no trees are planted.
Mamadou Wurry Jallow, adviser to the Minister of Environment Climate Change and Natural Resources of The Gambia said the partnership engagement of the two organisations is the best way towards the attainment of Senegambia integration.5l,m
He said the ministry places a high premium of environmental protection because the forest is a primary provider of what man relies on for feeding, herbal medicine and other use.